by Matthew A. Everett • July 29, 2008 • I should probably just admit this up front.
Jonas Goslow is my kryptonite.
If you want to see something funny, watch me try to maintain a conversation with Jonas Goslow for longer than 30 seconds. The instant he smiles, I’m done. All the synapses in my brain start misfiring. At that point, the best I can do is just pray I don’t say something stupid.
Oh, the show, you want to know about the show…
Shift (that’s not a literary device, it’s really the title)
“and I was connected… at least for a second”
Can I just interject here that both the title and the quote on the show card are practically begging to be misused by a critic? Given the caliber of the writer and actor involved, I don’t think the opportunity is going to present itself but…
First, pronounce it carefully.
Second, don’t let anyone forget the “F”
“and I was connected… at least for a second”
One hopes the audience has a better time of it than that.
But fear not. They will.
How do I know this?
Well, the writer is Nick Ryan, (of Four Humors fame – Deviled Eggs, Bards, just to name a couple of other funny, whipsmart, wildly popular things he’s already written in Fringes past) who I now I have yet another reason to be envious of, to add to my already significant list.
The actor/producer – Mr. Goslow – mitigates my burgeoning guilt at being such a pushover where he’s concerned by being much more than just a very handsome, friendly fellow. He’s one of the best actors in town right now (of which, yes, there are many, but…)
I’d go see Jonas Goslow read the phone book.
I am, however, not completely without my critical faculties around him. There have been some productions I have sat through, largely to see him on stage, that were real stinkers. Not even for him would I sit through them again. He always makes whatever he’s in better, but one actor, even a whole army of actors, can only do so much if the material isn’t there.
I have also had the pleasure of sitting through really good productions with which he was involved, and willingly returned, partly for the good theater (The Real Thing, The Glass Menagerie [I know, The Glass Menagerie – still boggles my mind, but damn it was beautiful]), partly, let’s be honest, for him.
Thankfully, this time around the phone book is being written by Nick Ryan. It wasn’t actually written until quite recently however. While I’ve been trying to finish a script that goes into rehearsal the day after the Fringe closes, Nick’s been finishing a script that was already essentially in rehearsal – for the Fringe (in addition to Four Humors’ traveling Fringe show – Mortem Capiendum – already underway, and critically acclaimed – naturally). I will doubtless see it, like it, and curse his prolific heart yet again – but only in bewildered admiration, not in genuine anger. Good theater excuses not all, but a lot.
Since it was still under construction for a while, pretty much all we knew was…
“Culture. Economy. Scientific Thought. We exist amid shifting, self-regulating networks of all kinds, indifferent to the fortune and loss of the individual. This show is about the individual.”
I know. Phone book.
This, written more recently, provides a bit more intrigue…
“On October 7th, 2008 the following events will occur:
An education referendum fails to pass in Spring Branch, Texas…
A man in Cincinnati, Ohio returns home to discover his wife has disappeared…
Four United States Senators receive death threats from a hacker collective known only as The Hive…
And the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator on the border of Switzerland and France, is turned on for the first time…
We exist amid shifting, self-regulating networks of all kinds, indifferent to the fortune and loss of the individual. ‘Shift’ is about the individual.”
Better. Much better.
Honestly, on the pedigree of the two artists involved, I’d be fine. But it makes it easier to sell something if you know what you’re selling.
Let’s put it this way…
Because Jonas Goslow is involved, I’ll see it once.
Because Nick Ryan is involved, I’ll probably end up wanting to see it twice (like Bards last year, which I actually did see twice – something which very rarely happens at the Fringe).
At least twice.
I don’t have a video clip, a sneak peek at the script, or any advance inside scoop.
All I know… if he smiles just once, that’s the $12 ticket price and a $3 Fringe button right there.
Everything else, the script, the performance, that’s gravy.
These guys involved? That’s a lot of gravy.
Very Highly Recommended.
(We now return you to a more coherent, fact-based blog about the Fringe…)
Location, dates and show times, and ticket information available here.
Entering his sixth year of blogging about the Minnesota Fringe Festival (and bringing Mom along for the ride as a guest reviewer), Matthew A. Everett is also a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at matthewaeverett.com.